The name Mossman, and its variations, probably originted in Europe sometime after the Norman Conquest in 1066.Scholars who have studied the origin of surnames are generally agreed that before then surnames were not used, and only given names were used to identify a particular individual.It was during the ensuing two centuries that surnames became common, a practice stimulated by rapidly growing populations, commerce between nations, and the resulting need to better identify individuals.Thus, the surname Mossman came into existence in Europe between 1100 and 1300.Thereafter, surnames, including the name Mossman and its variations, became part of one's property and passed with other possessions to his direct descendants (Edward J. Bander, Change of Name and Law of Names [Dobbs Ferry, NY, 1973] 98).During the two hundred years when surnames were adopted, men took them from a variety of sources including their place of habitation, especially men of estates, and from their arts in the case of artisans.Pine indicates that the name Mossman was assumed by people who "lived on or close by a moss." The Scottish lowlander of the 12 & 13 centuries, for example, looked to farming and husbandry for survival. His house was of primitive construction with thatched roofs, stone walls and a dirt floor. Poor soil and diminishing forests, placed a constant strain on individual families to survive.The lowlands of Scotland had large amounts of peat moss, which was likely, therefore, a source for fuel, insulation, roof materials, bedding, as well as income for the landowners.These environmental, economic, and social forces may have combined to cause a number of individuals or families to become involved in the gathering and sale of peat moss, leading, in the begining of the surname era, to the assumption of the name Mossman.It is clear, however, that this description of the origin of the name, although consistent with geographic, social, and economic events, is hypothetical (H.B. Guppy, Homes of Family Names in Great Britian [Baltimore, 1968], 15; Charles Wareing Bardsley, English Surnames, Their Sources and Significations [Rutland, VI, 1968], 6; L.G. Pine, The Story of Surnames [Rutland, VI, 1966], 12; J. Rose and D. Rose, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames; James G. Leyburn, The Scotch-Irish, A Social History [Chapel Hill, NC, 1962]).